Bionic Dues PC Review | PCGamesN

CD Projekt RED will release 16 free DLC packs for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt: "We owe them"

Dragon's Dogma Online is a thing and will be free to play

Frontier Developments lay-off fifteen staff, Coaster Park Tycoon announced

Bionic Dues

Bionic Dues PC Review

Bionic Dues Arcen Games

The city map is a web of nodes spread out before me. Every one of them under the control of the robot rebellion. With each passing day all those armouries, labs, and production factories bolster the enemy’s forces.

High command has given me 50 days to put down the AI uprising or they’ll nuke me, and all of its inhabitants, from orbit.

Even though my enemy is a collection of shoddily designed, half-sentient killing machines this is going to be a serious challenge for me and my four mechs. There are hundreds of them and they’re armed to the motherboards.

At its simplest, Bionic Dues is a turn-based tactical game where you’re commanding mechs to overcome vast hordes of rogue robots. Wrapped around that core tactical game is a strategic metagame where you try to capture key points around the city, aiming to cripple the AI army and strengthen your own. You have to be judicious with your assaults, win or lose after every mission the enemy robots get stronger.

The robots of Bionic Dues aren’t the ED209s and T-1000s of this world. They’re closer to Homer Simpson’s half-finished mechanical child. This is a revolution of worker drones and half-sentient coffee machines.

One of the trickiest machines doesn’t even have a gun. As I write this, my assault mech is crowded by EMP bots. Like any groupie, they’re mostly harmless but they’re blocking my route to safety. I’ll have to shoot my way through. Except, with EMP bots you don’t want to do that.

When an EMP bot blows it disables all droids in its vicinity for four turns. Fine if no one is about but if your mech is disabled in a firefight it’s basically bye bye battlemech: the enemy droids will focus fire and it’ll be a laser burned hulk before your systems reboot.

And in a firefight is exactly what I am.

Bionic Dues Arcen Games

I’d sent my mechs to recapture one of the city’s armouries. Not only would success bring me a stack of salvaged weapon upgrades but it’s a vital link on the chain of nodes that will take me to a Lion’s Den mission. Completing that will be a massive hit to the size of the AI’s army.

Your mission isn’t to recapture every node on the minimap. With 50 days till the AI war machine launches an assault on your HQ and the higher ups drop a nuke on the city you’ve to time to go door to door unplugging disgruntled washing machines and taking a sledgehammer to microwaves.. Instead, you balance your time scavenging better kit for your mechs and doing all you can to destroy the factories that the AI’s using to bolster its army at the end of every day. That main attack can’t be stopped. All you can do is prepare as best you can.

Bionic Dues Arcen Games

Which is why I’m holed up in an armoury in uptown, surrounded by EMPs. The real threat, just out of my range, beyond the groupies, is a gaggle of doom bots. Okay, so it’s not all revolutionary hair dryers and trotskyite sandwich toasters, there are some military types on the field. With every hit they land doom bots get 50% stronger. I don’t want to give them that opportunity. In the last turn the lead doom bot moved close enough to fire on me. Next turn she’s getting stronger unless I can destroy her.

I solve the range issue by switching to my missile-toting siege mech. You can only have one mech on the battlefield at a time and they swap into the same spot, so I’m still trapped by the EMP bots but now the doom bots are in range. The swap takes up my turn and the lead doom bot scores a hit on my siege mech, buffing its attack.

This should be worrying but I spent my first week in the city scavenging upgrades.

Your mechs don’t level up like the enemy’s and you’re not able to change your mechs’ weapons. An assault mech will always be armed with a machine gun, a laser, and a grenade launcher. Instead, you improve your machines by fitting their subsystems with new kit. My siege mech’s rocket launcher’s been buffed to the nines with damage bonuses and area of effect increases.

Bionic Dues Arcen Games

A single missile takes out all four doom bots freeing me to deal with my ensemble of groupies unmolested by military types.

Every mission, despite being procedurally generated, has these tactical traps where you have to think of how to best use your mechs to escape being the first against the wall in the robotic revolution. Play an encounter wrong and the AI will tear you apart in a couple of turns; then it’s back to base, and you know the next time the enemy will be even stronger.

I’ve a lot of time for Bionic Dues’ complex tactical game wrapped in strategy and loot drops but it’s the numbers that get me confused. Stats and data are everywhere.

The mech fitting room is awash with numbers. Each bit of gear has a slew of buffs and abilities, a power consumption rating, and an incomprehensible naming convention that puts graphics cards manufacturers to shame. Is the Mk 1 Grueling Explosion Booster better than the Mk1 Hardshell Ammo Extender of Generosity? I gave up on analysing in the end and started swapping gear in and out without much thought beyond “This makes explosion number bigger. Explosions good.”

Then in the missions there are more numbers you need to be aware of - your own four mechs’ health, damage, and weapon ranges, but also their health recharge rate, the range of your enemies’ attacks, their damage, and health. Any special abilities they may have or special quirks. Then there’s the console box at the top of the screen that’s a log of all the damage and kills happening in the game and... and... and I give up. It’s easier to ignore it all and play badly than take it all in and risk having your brain drain lumpily out your nose.

At its best, with its dystopian future and haphazard revolution, Bionic Dues feels like a Games Workshop game that never was. At its worst it’s like being submerged in a swimming pool of dice and calculator printouts.

6/10

Login or Register
Try these free to play games
?

These are affiliate links - clicking them and playing the games directly supports PCGamesN

Spotlight
?

Our Spotlight units plug content our journalists have made, that our advertisers want to promote. Sometimes the promotion is paid for, but the content they go to is always independent with no client oversight or approval.


Alienware - Game VictoriousTurtle Beach
We’ve 650 Heroes of the Storm keys to give away. Form an orderly queue

Heroes of the Storm

We’ve 650 Heroes of the Storm keys to give away. Form an orderly queue

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt hands on - playing 2015's most exciting RPG

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt hands on - playing 2015's most exciting RPG

In Dead Synchronicity, you mutilate a dead vicar. And then it gets even bleaker

Dead Synchronicity

In Dead Synchronicity, you mutilate a dead vicar. And then it gets even bleaker

Homeworld Remastered Collection revealed; Steam launch set for February 25th

Homeworld Remastered

Homeworld Remastered Collection revealed; Steam launch set for February 25th

Adventures in... Assassin's Creed: Unity - Butcher, or Benny Hill?

Assassin's Creed Unity

Adventures in... Assassin's Creed: Unity - Butcher, or Benny Hill?

How to get better at Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

How to get better at Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

ArenaNet unveils Guild Wars 2's first expansion: Heart of Thorns

Guild Wars 2

ArenaNet unveils Guild Wars 2's first expansion: Heart of Thorns

Weekend Deal Dump: Card games and road trips

Weekend Deal Dump

Weekend Deal Dump: Card games and road trips

How Paul Neurath is kickstarting an Ultima Underworld sequel, with the blessing of EA

Underworld Ascendant

How Paul Neurath is kickstarting an Ultima Underworld sequel, with the blessing of EA

Battlefleet Gothic: Armada has the best weaponised space cathedrals in gaming, ever

Battlefleet Gothic: Armada

Battlefleet Gothic: Armada has the best weaponised space cathedrals in gaming, ever

PEGI won't censor Hatred in Europe. Here's why

Hatred

PEGI won't censor Hatred in Europe. Here's why

Looking back: why it's time to return to Far Cry 2

Far Cry® 2: Fortune's Edition

Looking back: why it's time to return to Far Cry 2

The devs behind Remember Me are making a smart WW1 vampire RPG

Vampyr

The devs behind Remember Me are making a smart WW1 vampire RPG

Chaos Reborn Early Access review

Chaos Reborn

Chaos Reborn Early Access review

Microsoft's plans for marrying Windows 10 and PC gaming: Xbox Live, DirectX, and streaming

Windows 10

Microsoft's plans for marrying Windows 10 and PC gaming: Xbox Live, DirectX, and streaming

How Company of Heroes 2 became Steam's biggest RTS

Company of Heroes 2

How Company of Heroes 2 became Steam's biggest RTS

Here are my impressions of Infinifactory, please trust them

Infinifactory

Here are my impressions of Infinifactory, please trust them

We’ve got 500 Heroes of the Storm beta keys to giveaway to EU players and PLEASE NO TRAMPLING

Heroes of the Storm

We’ve got 500 Heroes of the Storm beta keys to giveaway to EU players and PLEASE NO TRAMPLING

Accusations of StarCraft match-fixing against progamer San from betting site Pinnacle

Starcraft II

Accusations of StarCraft match-fixing against progamer San from betting site Pinnacle

Tomorrow, we start giving away hundreds of Heroes of the Storm beta keys

Heroes of the Storm

Tomorrow, we start giving away hundreds of Heroes of the Storm beta keys

Topic of the Week: What works and doesn't work in survival games?

Topic of the Week

Topic of the Week: What works and doesn't work in survival games?

Blackguards 2 review

Blackguards 2

Blackguards 2 review

The Big Interview: William Pugh closes the book on The Stanley Parable

The Stanley Parable

The Big Interview: William Pugh closes the book on The Stanley Parable

The best mods and apps for Elite: Dangerous

Elite: Dangerous

The best mods and apps for Elite: Dangerous

Making it in Unreal: can Elite dock with FTL for Kickstarted space sim Into the Stars?

Into the Stars

Making it in Unreal: can Elite dock with FTL for Kickstarted space sim Into the Stars?

Adventures in... The Sims 4 - Launching Mulder and Scully into space

The Sims 4

Adventures in... The Sims 4 - Launching Mulder and Scully into space

Weekend Deal Dump: These deals are criminal

Weekend Deal Dump

Weekend Deal Dump: These deals are criminal

Out There's Michael Peiffert on bringing the brilliant space roguelike to PC

Out There: Omega Edition

Out There's Michael Peiffert on bringing the brilliant space roguelike to PC

Rust Early Access review: one year on

Rust

Rust Early Access review: one year on

Total War modder to wargame maker: Nick Thomadis' road to Ultimate General: Gettysburg

Ultimate General: Gettysburg

Total War modder to wargame maker: Nick Thomadis' road to Ultimate General: Gettysburg

The Survivor GameZ: The DayZ eSport is returning

DayZ

The Survivor GameZ: The DayZ eSport is returning

Satellite Reign Early Access review

Satellite Reign

Satellite Reign Early Access review

The Big Interview: Chris Avellone on how to write an RPG

Pillars of Eternity

The Big Interview: Chris Avellone on how to write an RPG

Train Simulator 2015: hands on with the London Overground train

Train Simulator 2015

Train Simulator 2015: hands on with the London Overground train

The best wargames on PC

Unity of Command: Stalingrad Campaign

The best wargames on PC

Closed: We’re giving away a Geforce GTX970-powered gaming PC courtesy of Gameforge

S.K.I.L.L

Closed: We’re giving away a Geforce GTX970-powered gaming PC courtesy of Gameforge

Making it in Unreal: advancing alien AI with Space Hulk: Deathwing

Space Hulk: Deathwing

Making it in Unreal: advancing alien AI with Space Hulk: Deathwing

Elite: Dangerous review

Elite: Dangerous

Elite: Dangerous review

Topic of the Week: What did you play over the holidays?

Topic of the Week

Topic of the Week: What did you play over the holidays?

We've got ten Guild Wars 2 t-shirts to give away. Would you like one?

Guild Wars 2

We've got ten Guild Wars 2 t-shirts to give away. Would you like one?